Tonight is Game Three of the World Series. To celebrate we’re highlighting a few pictures of baseball in Illinois.
There is a rich debate about the origins of baseball, both in terms of its evolution- and place, but we know that by the mid-19th century, baseball was already ingrained into American life and community. Both Union and Confederate soldiers documented baseball games in their diaries, including games played as prisoners of war. After the war communities formed clubs of their own, making baseball one of the first instances of communities establishing their own identities.
In Illinois, as early as 1869 the Cairo Bulletin was reporting on games in bordering Missouri. By 1870, the Cairo Deltas and Egyptians were playing in Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois as clubs and regional leagues began to form across the state.
Below are some of the greatest hits from Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County, Cherry Valley Historical Society, Chicago History Museum, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showing how the game was played in our communities from the 1880’s onward, and became an international phenomenon in the early 20th century.
The Dunn Museum’s Fort Sheridan Collection includes several images of baseball as a part of life on the Fort.
The Cherry Valley Historical Society Cherry Valley Local History Collection includes team portraits of Cherry Valley Wildcats, and little leaguers from the first half of the century, showing what community sports looked like and how communities supported teams during baseball’s most nostalgic moment.
Cherry Valley Baseball Team, C. 1916. Unknown Photographer. Cherry Valley Historical Society. Cherry Valley Local History Collection.
Meanwhile, the Chicago History Museum’s Museum Collection and Prints and Photographs Collection includes artifacts and photographs from Chicago’s MLB teams, the Cubs and the White Sox:
And lastly, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Picture Chicago Collection includes this great picture of the Chicago White Sox and New York Giant’s in front of The Great Sphinx during their 1913-1914 world tour:
For more fall ball, or if you’re still daydreaming of summer, check out our contributor’s collections on the Illinois Digital Heritage Hub Website.